ACTING

Basic hints on acting, character behavior, and improvisation.

ACTING / INTRODUCTION

Basic acting hints:
  • Actions must be appropriate for character.
  • Act BIG and sloooooowwww.
  • Use gesture, body language, ASL.
  • Use oversized pantomime for every emotion.
  • Movements and actions need reason and purpose.
  • Watch your blocking: crowding, facing, spacing.
  • Play to the audience, not to each other.
Basic acting skills:
  • Good vocal projection
  • Clarity of speech
  • Imitating dialects and accents
  • Physical expressiveness
  • Emotional expressiveness
  • Singing and dancing
  • Improvisation
  • Mime
  • Stage combat


This "Clowning 101" content is Copyright 2019, all rights reserved
By Andrew ("Drizzle") Bedno and Susan ("Sweetie") Hooper, Chicago Illinois USA.

ACTING / IMPROVISATION

IMPROV RULES:
  • Yes and:
    Respond to partners improvisation by adding on and building with "Yes and...", as opposed to any repsonse that might defuse, slow, or obstruct the building context. For example, if a person says "The aliens are coming!"; a response like "Yes, I can hear them in my fillings" is FAR better than "you're crazy".
  • Avoid asking questions:
    Respond to partners improvisation by supporting and building on the story. Questions slow and complicate a context, decrease credibility, and overly challenge your partner by forcing them to come up with an answer. For example, if a person says "The aliens are coming!"; a response like "they probed me once" is FAR better than "why would you say that?"
  • Listen:
    Close listening is required for good improv. More so even than with regular conversation. By listening you can respond appropriately, rather than with disassociation.
  • Don't Deny:
    Denial is a scene killer, by instantly crushing suspended disbeliefe. For example, if a person says "The aliens are coming!"; a response like "Run around and panic!" is FAR better than "No they aren't".
  • Tell a story:
    Do what you can to actually build a tale, rather than just back and forth banter. For example, if a person says "The aliens are coming!"; a response like "soon they'll be demanding equal rights" is FAR better than "I hear they breathe through their feet".
More improv hints can be found online.

This "Clowning 101" content is Copyright 2019, all rights reserved
By Andrew ("Drizzle") Bedno and Susan ("Sweetie") Hooper, Chicago Illinois USA.

ACTING / SPECIAL SKILLS

What special skills do you have?
Consider skills you might not think other people care about, or ones you yourself may have overlooked.
Examples:
  • Musical instruments:
    String, brass, reed, guitar, keyboards, ...
  • Rhythm instruments.
  • Musical Saw.
    Or other novelties such as accordion, zither, bells, musical champagne glasses.
  • Great flexibility.
  • Stilts.
  • Magic.
  • Trained pets.
  • Freak arts:
    Fire, sword swallowing, contact juggling, ...
  • Extreme height or shortness.
  • ...


This "Clowning 101" content is Copyright 2019, all rights reserved
By Andrew ("Drizzle") Bedno and Susan ("Sweetie") Hooper, Chicago Illinois USA.

ACTING / EXERCISES

Try these excercises to improve your acting:
  • Write your "character bible".
    Describe your character's age, gender, history, parents, formative events, preferences, hobbies, tendancies, prejudices, and example behaviors. Be able to answer the question "What would my character do?" for any situation.
  • Practice improv with a partner.
    Use no prompts, set a time limit, and use an audience/peer suggestion for location and situation.
  • Learn a classic scene.
    Be able to perform a Shakespearean soliloquy for example.


This "Clowning 101" content is Copyright 2019, all rights reserved
By Andrew ("Drizzle") Bedno and Susan ("Sweetie") Hooper, Chicago Illinois USA.

ACTING / EXPRESSIONS

See attached simplified cartoon faces picture showing many common facial expressions.